After dealing with the stifling symptoms of addiction and realizing how burdening it is on your life, you’ve decided to get treatment. However, you may have heard that relapse is possible, even after a rehabilitation program has been completed.
Learning how to manage cravings during the recovery process is going to be crucial to your success in the long haul. Therefore, what are some strategies that have proven to be successful with others?
First thing’s first: Don’t get discouraged when you experience the desire to drink again. The overuse of alcohol, just like the overuse of any drug, causes the brain to send impulses that trigger a feeling of desire for the drug in the person who is addicted. Although the feeling is uncomfortable, it is normal.
Sometimes people who experience urges to drink feel weak, but that is far from true. Everyone who goes through addiction and addiction treatment has to deal with cravings.
A great recovery starts with you knowing that you are not alone in this process, and that you have the strength to conquer the addiction.
Know What Triggers You
Unfortunately, there is not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment and recovery. Alcoholism and the triggers that go along with it, is more complicated than that.
In order to shut down the cravings that you experience, you must first begin the process of being self-aware. Knowing what triggers affect you and make you want to drink is crucial. Common triggers for people are:
- Being around certain people – Oftentimes it’s the people who forgive, allow, or instigate the start of your negative behaviors that cause you to fall into a downward spiral. Instead, surround yourself with people who support your recovery and do not tolerate drinking.
- Specific environments – Maybe you’ve gotten drunk many times at the same bar? This would be a place you should avoid.
- Money – If receiving money makes you think of buying your favorite alcohol, you may want a close friend or family member to help you delegate funds toward more productive causes.
- Emotions – Sometimes people drink when they feel down, or even when they have cause to celebrate. Knowing that a craving might hit because of an emotion you feel is a good way to nip a trigger in the bud.
Detail Your Craving
The more in-tune with yourself you are, the more successful you will be at denying your cravings. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cravings are often experienced, and therefore, explained in different ways:
- Somatic – heart racing, feeling in pit of stomach, smells, etc.
- Cognitive – can’t stop thinking about it, nagging thoughts, etc.
- Affective – bored, nervous, etc.
Which of these explanations do you relate to? Being aware of how your mind and body react to certain feelings, thoughts, or surroundings can help you recognize a desire to drink before it gets out of hand.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends using the following steps to avoid drinking:
This process involves first being more self aware so that specific triggers can be avoided completely. Then, the person recovering from alcoholism can cope with the craving.
How To Cope
Recovery is termed such because addiction is a lasting disease. A person who has accomplished alcohol rehabilitation then has a life ahead, in which coping mechanisms will need to be implemented.
Here are some ways to cope with a craving:
- Distraction – finding another activity to do or something else to think about
- Remember negative consequences – reflect on the negative consequences that alcoholism brought to your life
- Self-talk – Speak to yourself positively. Give good reminders, such as, “I can do this.” or “No, I’m not going to go to the liquor store. I’m stronger than that, and I have better things to do.”
- Talk to someone else – Being accountable to another person can greatly help you cope with a craving. A trustworthy friend can talk you down and help you stop the urge to drink.
Get A Support System
Whether you have family or friends that will help support your recovery process, or whether you designate time to seeing a counselor or therapist, having people around you who care is a nice cushion.
Although many of us like to be independent, it is easier to get through our most difficult problems with a person by our side. Know that you are not in this alone, and you do not have to recover alone.
Contact Us For Help
Experiencing rehabilitation, getting clean, and learning strategies to deal with the cravings of alcoholism can give you or a friend a new chance at life. Although the desire to drink might seem strong, your well-being is not worth jeopardizing with one more drop of alcohol.
Experts are available to help by offering quality, effective treatment for individuals struggling with addiction. Contact us here at AlcoholTreatment.net today to get your life back on track.